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Cartographica Helvetica


Elisabeth and Samuel Wyder-Leemann:

Surveys around the city of Zurich at the turn of the Ancien Régime up to the modern State

Cartographica Helvetica 16 (1997) 13–21


The social, political, military, and commercial situation in Switzerland changed rapidly during the second half of the 18th century. This evolution also influenced the work of surveyors and cartographers. Until 1830 an impressive number of graphically well designed tithe-plans of small areas in a large scale with a wide range of content were produced. As the internal political situation of the canton Zurich stabilized, detailed maps were produced using modern surveying methods introduced by the French. Two handdrawn plans by Franz Anton Messmer and Sigmund Spitteler remained practically unknown, whereas the copper-engraved Plan de la ville et des Environs de Zürich by David Breitinger could be bought in bookshops. In the latter plan, detailed information such as the positions of French troops during their occupation of Zurich at the turn of the century can be traced.

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